Marijuana-movement leader Lopez to challenge Hickenlooper

Miguel Lopez

Miguel Lopez

DENVER– Mile High NORML boardmember Miguel Lopez introduces pro-pot attorney Robert Corry at Thursday’s medical marijuana rally across the street from the capitol’s west steps. Lopez, who organized the event and delivered its opening speech in a trench coat and pot-leaf earrings, made a low-key announcement that he will be challenging Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper in the Democratic Party gubernatorial primary.

“I will be running as a Democrat,” Lopez told Westword. “But I’ll also be promoting the ideas and beliefs of the US Marijuana Party.”

At Thursday’s rally, Lopez called the day historic, although he did not speak specifically about his own campaign.

“This is the first time in history that Denver has the opportunity to get off the steps and into the Capitol… to restore the voice of the people,” he said.

Between introducing speakers at the rally, Lopez told the Colorado Independent that he respected Pres. Obama’s decision to call off federal authorities in states where the medical marijuana trade is legal. Lopez said Colorado should follow the president’s lead in seeking to free up strained and valuable law enforcement resources by reforming marijuana laws.

Lopez is the first pot advocate to run for governor since Ken Gorman, a write-in candidate in 1994 and 1998. Lopez rallied the crowd Thursday by repeatedly calling Denver by a nickname gaining resonance every day. “Pot City!” he called out from the steps in the shadow of the dome.

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